When this time of year rolls around, I’m all about the al fresco eating and delicious salads. There is nothing better to me than gathering around a picnic rug or garden table with family/friends to tuck into good food and refreshing drinks. How amazing are these 10pm sunsets at the moment? I’m always trawling Pinterest for new salad recipes that go well with a BBQ or just alone for a work lunch.
Adding cushions and using a few hand painted bowls makes a picnic extra special for lounging on a warm summer evening. When Moroccan Bazaar sent me a few goodies to style, I thought I’d put a Moroccan twist on some recipes for a picnic. Moroccan Bazaar support skilled craftsmen by exporting their goods straight from Morocco, and also produce lighting in their own atelier in Marrakesh. I’m a big fan of patterned handmade ceramics and think they look beautiful mismatched for a casual summer spread. These dishes would go really well with some BBQ’d lamb or if you’re vegetarian like me, haloumi, aubergine and red pepper kebabs.
Fresh Minty Limonana
This might not be strictly Moroccan but it went so well with the picnic and the use of mint makes it fitting with the rest of the recipes.
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/4 cups water
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice from 6 lemons
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves
Ice cubes, mint leaves and lemon slices to garnish
Boil 1/4 cup of water with the sugar until dissolved and then let it cool. Blend it with the rest of the ingredients and serve over ice with lemon and mint leaves to garnish. Add a dash of vodka if you fancy it!
Patterned plate, little jug from Morocco
Cauliflower and Pomegranate Moroccan Salad
This is definitely going to become a regular BBQ side for me this summer. Alex didn’t realise it was cauliflower until I told him. Recipe adapted from the BBC.
1 tbsp olive oil
4 spring onions
1 garlic glove, crushed
1 red chilli, finely chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 lemon, zested and juiced
handful of pine nuts, roasted in a dry pan
50g dried cranberries
50g chopped parsley
50g chopped mint
2 handfuls pomegranate seeds
For the Tahini Sauce
75g natural full fat yogurt
1 tbsp tahini
1 tsp ground cumin
1 lemon, juiced
Blitz the cauliflower (without the leaves) in a food processor until it looks like couscous. Heat the oil in a and gently fry the spring onions, garlic and chilli for a couple of mins. Add the cauliflower and cook gently for another 5 mins. Add the cumin, lemon zest and juice, toasted nuts and cranberries, and continue to cook gently for 2 mins. Take off the heat, mix through the pomegranate seeds and herbs. Make the tahini sauce by mixing everything together in a small bowl and serve on the side.
Baba Ganoush Dip
This is my favourite dip ever and I’ll always order it if I see it on a menu. I am obsessed with the smoky flavour. This recipe is via the Guardian.
2 large aubergines
Juice of 1 lemon, plus a little extra
2 tbsp tahini
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3 tbsp chopped mint or flat-leaf parsley
1 tbsp pomegranate seeds
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Blacken the aubergines over a gas hob or barbecue, turning regularly with tongs, until completely charred and collapsed. My dad’s tip is to line the stove with foil to lessen the mess. Allow to cool. Slit the aubergines lengthways and scoop out the flesh, discarding the skins. Put in a sieve and leave to drain for 30 minutes. Season.
Stir the lemon juice into the tahini until it loosens up. Add the garlic and two-thirds of the chopped herbs, and season again to taste. Add a squeeze more lemon juice if necessary. Mash the aubergines gently with a fork, and then stir into the tahini mixture. Top with the remaining herbs, a drizzle of olive oil, and the pomegranate seeds. Serve with flat bread or fresh cucumber.
Black and white pom pom cushion
Along with these I bought some dolmades and apricots and it was a delicious little feast. Let me know if you decide to whip up any of these recipes this summer! They were surprisingly simple and quick, as well as delicious.